NEW YORK POST
By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon / May 3, 2020 |
Germany’s Catholic bishops have acknowledged that they were “complicit” in allowing the Nazis to rise to power and stood by while they launched World War II, according to new reports.
In a 23-page report made public this weekend, Germany’s Council of Catholic Bishops said it didn’t do enough to oppose the rise of Nazi power and even cooperated with Adolf Hitler’s regime during the Second World War, according to a report originally published in the UK’s Sunday Times.
“Inasmuch as the bishops did not oppose the war with a clear ‘no,’ and most of them bolstered (Germany’s) will to endure, they made themselves complicit in the war,” the report said, according to the Times.
“The bishops may not have shared the Nazis’ justification for the war on the grounds of racial ideology, but their words and their images gave succor both to soldiers and the regime prosecuting the war, as they lent the war an additional sense of purpose.”
Although the Vatican condemned Hitler’s race laws in 1937, the German church largely looked the other way during the war, which raged from 1939 to 1945, the Times said.
The report notes that the Catholic Church cooperated with the German regime during the war by converting thousands of churches and church property into military hospitals, while nuns were dispatched to work as nurses for the German army.
Priests also traveled to the front lines during the war to provide comfort and spiritual guidance to soldiers, the report said.
The church also denounced the post-war Nuremberg Trials as an un-Christian act of revenge.
“There is no need to conceal that this is not an easy task for us,” the Rev. Georg Batzing, chairman for the bishop’s conference, told the Times. “We know that presiding over our predecessors as judge and jury does not suit us. No generation is free from judgments and prejudices that are shaped by its time.”
“But those who come later must confront history in order to learn from it,” Batzing said.
The report comes to light after Pope Francis in March opened the archives of the tenure of Pope Pius XII, who was pontiff from 1939 to 1958, the Catholic News Agency reported.
One researcher found evidence that Pius may have even lied to the US in 1942 after the country entered the war, claiming then he could not verify reports from a Jewish agency that the Nazis were committing mass murder of Jews in death camps, the outlet said.
However, some experts caution that the 1942 report by the Jewish Agency of Palestine may have contained rumors and unverifiable information at the time.